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Triple launch: Vahni Capildeo, Steven J Fowler and Zaffar Kunial
12 July @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Join us on 12 July for a Burley Fisher first: the triple launch of Vahni Capildeo’s Venus as a Bear, Steven J Fowler’s The Wrestlers and Zaffar Kunial’s Us. There will be readings and signings and drinks. Full details below.
VAHNI CAPILDEO enjoys cross-genre and multilingual writing. Their six books and four pamphlets include Venus as a Bear (Carcanet, 2018) and Seas and Trees (Recent Work, 2017). Their current projects include developing traditional masquerade peformance for Trinidad’s Bocas Litfest, and an intersemiotic collaboration with Chris McCabe. They are the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds.
VENUS AS A BEAR collects poems on animals, art, language, the sea, thinghood, metaphor, description, and dance. They tend toward, and tend to, the inanimate and non-human, tenderly disclosing their forms of sentience. We have feelings for creatures, objects and places, but where do these affinities come from? How do things, as things, affect us, remain mysterious while making themselves known? For Capildeo answers formed at their own pace, while waiting for lambing at a friend’s farm; exploring the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; criss-crossing the British Isles with the Out of Bounds poetry project; or hearing of Africa and the Romans in Scotland, of Guyana and Shakespeare, while standing over-the-boots deep in a freezing sea off the coast of Wales. Many of the poems respond to real places, objects and people, as investigations, meditations, or dedications. They dwell on bodies and dwell in the body, inviting ardent, open forms of reading, in the spirit of their composition.
STEVEN J FOWLER is a writer and artist who works in poetry, fiction, theatre, video, photography, visual art, sound art and performance. He has published multiple collections of poetry and artworks, and been commissioned by Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, Tate Britain, the London Sinfonietta, Wellcome Collection and Liverpool Biennial. www.stevenjfowler.com
THE WRESTLERS: Wrestling, the world’s oldest sport, has been used by artists, poets and sculptors as a metaphor for the internal struggle of the human mind for millennia. In the poems of SJ Fowler it becomes an action verb, a metaphorical crux which reﬂects not only upon the contradictions of our interior selves, but also the endless proliferation of entrenched argumentation in our contemporary world. Finding its origin in a commission from Tate Britain, where Fowler’s poetry responded to Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s extraordinary eponymous relief, The Wrestlers is an accomplished collection from one the UK’s most thought-provoking poets, often playful, surreal, satirical and ambitious.
ZAFFAR KUNIAL was born in Birmingham and lives in Hebden Bridge. He published a pamphlet in the Faber New Poets series in 2014 and spent that year as the Wordsworth Trust Poet-in-Residence. Since his first public reading, of ‘Hill Speak’ at the 2011 National Poetry Competition awards, he has spoken at various literature festivals and in programmes for BBC radio, and won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem ‘The Word’.
US is the eloquent and affecting debut from the talented Zaffar Kunial. In a series of approachable, lyric narratives, the poems in Kunial’s hypnotic collection look with a tender toughness at his upbringing by his English mother and Lahore-based, Kashmiri father, and the distances his own life has had to travel in between. With pinpoint precision, Kunial unlocks his familial and national languages to examine worlds to which he at once belongs and remains simultaneously estranged. Already an acknowledged star of the Faber New Poets scheme, Kunial has won admirers and awards in such measure as to ensure that Us will be one of the most talked about debuts in recent times.